Grace in Powderhorn Park (5×8 – 11/29/10)

Irony in the park, good vs. evil, to leak or not to leak, lessons of the ignored sibling, and postcards from around the world.

After four days off we need a high octane Monday Morning Rouser.


In this era of polarization and disagreement, perhaps we can all agree on this: A woman and her kids ought to be able to go to the park and not be sexually assaulted by teenagers while her kids watch.

That, as you may have heard, was what happened in Powderhorn Park in Minneapolis last Wednesday evening. So this Wednesday, a group of area residents is holding a vigil in the park to try to reclaim it.

The release, which you can find here, has all the details.

Meanwhile, on E*Democracy’s Powderhorn Park neighborhood forum, the woman involved posted a letter to the community. Here’s part of it:

I do want to correct one major inaccuracy in the news that I have read. None of us were raped, to the best of my knowledge. Yes, I was sexually

assaulted but the girls did manage to fight off the boys and escape before

anything happened. I really have a huge repulsion at the labeling of us as

victims. I see us as strong and capable of taking charge of our safety.

I find it ironic to have had this experience as I currently study

nonviolence, restorative justice and the healing of childhood trauma. I got

to put my studies and my practice of mindfulness into play as the incident

unfolded. The whole time I made a conscious choice to see the boys as human

beings, not to see them as evil or bad. I focus my attention not on the

boys’ actions but the pain behind their actions. I see those boys as

hurting, scared children who didn’t get the kind of nurture, love and care

that they needed. I try to hold them now in compassion and hope that they

might get the support they need to reconnect to their essential goodness.

With the system of justice that we currently use, I’m hopeless that will


Four “boys” have been arrested. We don’t know their names because they’re juveniles and the system doesn’t release the names of juveniles. Should it? Without their identity, nobody outside of the judicial process can know how kids grow up to behave like this.


The news this weekend — crime in Powderhorn Park, attempted bombings at a Christmas tree lighting in Oregon, the Koreas edge toward war — has made our head hurt from shaking it so often. The imponderable: What makes some people good and some people evil? Two tales of both:

Susie Nyberg of Fargo was left homeless when fire swept through her apartment building last month. With nothing but the clothes on her back, she went to Walmart to buy a few things, the Fargo Forum reports:

“I was visibly shaken with red, puffy eyes by the time I reached the checkout. All I could think about was the priceless family heirlooms, home movies and pictures that were in danger of being lost,” Nyberg wrote.

“As I proceeded to check out, a man approached me and gave me $48 he had left from his shopping and told the clerk to apply it to my purchases,” she wrote.

“He asked if my daughter and I had a place to stay that night. He was willing to open his home to strangers.

“He helped me out to my car and put the bags in my trunk. He gave me a big hug and asked if he could pray for my daughter, our dog and me.

Meanwhile, in the Twin Cities, a woman was mugged after a benefit her friends held for her to help defray the expenses of a recent stroke.

“When there are fundraisers like this, there are people that go to them to scout out, to scam somebody, maybe mug somebody, Minneapolis police Sgt. Jesse Garcia told KARE. “There are people that actually prey on these things.”

In Wisconsin, a dying man wasn’t going to live long enough to see his son graduate from college. So the university brought the graduation to him.

You can fight fire with good. More than 70 percent of the firefighters responding to calls for help are volunteering their time.Question: What’s the nicest thing anyone ever did for you?


The last time most of Minnesota heard of Wikileaks was when it posted the entire donor database of then Sen. Norm Coleman. It’s small potatoes compared to the firestorm that’s erupted after the site published thousands of State Department cables including an urging by Saudi Arabia that the U.S. attack Iran.

Against a request by the White House, the New York Times printed the cables, and suggested they came from a private in the Army. Pvt. Bradley Manning was an intelligence research analyst. (He’s in the brig now. Here’s a Web site that sprouted to his defense.)

Should the Times and other news media have printed details about the cables? The editors explained the Times’ decision here.

The question of dealing with classified information is rarely easy, and never to be taken lightly. Editors try to balance the value of the material to public understanding against potential dangers to the national interest. As a general rule we withhold secret information that would expose confidential sources to reprisals or that would reveal operational intelligence that might be useful to adversaries in war. We excise material that might lead terrorists to unsecured weapons material, compromise intelligence-gathering programs aimed at hostile countries, or disclose information about the capabilities of American weapons that could be helpful to an enemy.

The Times’ blog, The Lede, is fielding reader reaction. So am I.

Should the New York Times and other media have published the secret cables?customer surveys


Children who have siblings with chronic illnesses or disabilities often find their lives are constantly interrupted by medical emergencies that trump regular kid cares like birthday parties and soccer games. These children learn at an early age to put another person’s needs first and are often better adjusted in the long run.5) POSTCARDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The Northern Lights, Norway version. (h/t: BuzzFeed)

Aurora Borealis timelapse HD – Tromsø 2010 from Tor Even Mathisen on Vimeo.

From Liberia, MPR’s Toni Randolph has posted several videos from her tour of the country, including this one: The women who helped broker a peace agreement during the country’s civil war. Now they gather in “peace huts.” Find more videos and photos on the Facebook page, Toni Tours Liberia.




After the exchange of artillery fire between North and South Korea last week, President Obama reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to South Korea’s defense. Is the defense of South Korea a vital U.S. interest?


Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: A planned boycott of new TSA screening procedures didn’t materialize over the holiday weekend, but questions are still being raised about the necessity of full body screens and pat-downs. Have airport security procedures gone too far?

Second hour: While researching her best selling book “Seabiscuit,” Laura Hillenbrand stumbled across an article on Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who endured incredible hardships during World War II. She reached out to him and forged a connection that she chronicles in her latest book.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: The gubernatorial recount begins today. Studio guest: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie.

Second hour: Broadcast from the National Press Club featuring Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Yet another discussion about airport security procedures.

Second hour: Steve Martin

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Jess Mador trails a public defender for a day to look at how budgets are causing public defender shortages and existing public defenders to take on more and more cases.

  • Bob Moffitt

    Nicest thing anyone has done for me? I had a boss who, forced with making layoffs in our department, cut her own job and spared mine.

    Hard to top that, unless its an organ donor.

  • GregS

    What a difference a year makes.

    One year ago today, Andy Revkin of the New York Times refused to publish emails hacked from the servers of the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit.

    The emails were a log of the world’s top climate scientists and IPCC’s lead authors committing felonies, fudging data and corrupting the peer review process.

    Here is Mr. Revkin’s explanation for not publishing the emails.

    Private Climate Conversations on Display


    [Nov. 29, 3:41 p.m.


    The documents appear to have been acquired illegally and contain all manner of private information and statements that were never intended for the public eye, so they won’t be posted here.


    Note: the “hacked” CRU emails were held in a folder marked “FOI”. All of the emails were subject to Freedom of Information (FOI) – so in effect the NYT was refusing to publish public data that was being illegally withheld from the public.

    As for Wikileaks, the NYT is publishing illegally obtained documents that were never supposed to see the light of day.

    The question here is one of bias. The NYT will publish anything to score a leftist point. On the other hand, the NYT will refuse to publish anything that detracts from a leftist agenda.